NEW YORK – It took sixty-plus minutes to get it done and Kevin Klein did got it done at 1:59 of the overtime period to lift the New York Rangers to a 1-0 victory over the Detroit Red Wings.
A third straight original six match-up for the Rangers was a tightly played one that was filled with chances, posts and penalties handed out like Oprah handed out cars.
The game was the second of a back to back for the Red Wings who were tested early in the tilt but responded well on the excellent play of now back-up Jimmy Howard. The Rangers came out with the first eight shots of the contest. Howard stopped all twelve shots he saw in the first period, while his counter-part Henrik Lundqvist stopped ten.
Things got interesting as the second period started as the Red Wings, who, looked as if they were the team that was off last night, started pinning the Rangers in their own zone.
The Rangers were able to fight off the Red Wings attack and then created some of their own chances. The two teams traded scoring chances for the remainder of the period.
The third period had more of an open flow. Who was going to blink first? At 5:52 of the period, the Rangers seemed to have drawn first blood as Kevin Hayes put a puck off Howard and in the back of the net from a sharp angle. The Red Wings challenged the call and it was reversed after the war room in Toronto ruled that Oscar Lindberg had made contact with Howard prior to the goal.
The home crowd was incensed by what they felt were several questionable calls that were made by the officials, including an interference call on Keith Yandle and an elbowing call against Dan Girardi.
Both teams had good looks on their respective power plays but neither team scored in part because of a tendency to make one pass too many.
The Rangers were given yet another chance to get on the board at 14:35 of the third when Jesper Fast was awarded a penalty shot. Howard, who wasn’t playing like the back up tonight denied him and the game remained 0-0.
After sixty minutes of exciting hockey the game remained scoreless. This contest would be decided in a 3 on 3 overtime.
It took 1:59 to decide it and it was Klein who would be the hero as he buried the puck on a beautiful feed from Hayes to end the game.
When asked bout the game-winning goal Klein said, “The goaltenders played extremely well on both sides. Haysey (Hayes) put a perfect pass in there for me and I knew it was coming and I managed to place it well.”
Henrik Lundqvist who stopped all 22 shots he faced to record his fourth shutout of the season talked about the team’s resiliency by saying, “Going into the third, I think the key is patience and trust that you will get to where you want to be.”
“You will find a way to win the game. When that happens – overruled goal, missed penalty shot, 2-on-0 big chance – you just have to stick with it and keep playing the way we were playing”, said the Rangers net minder.
The Rangers have now won seven of their last nine games (7-1-1) and have earned a point in 17 of their last 24. Their penalty kill, which has struggled as of late went 4-for-4 and have successfully killed off all nine power plays against them over the last two games.
Klein, when talking about the penalty kill he said, “I think we are working great as a unit. We’ve got our trigger points- when one guy goes we can see the read off of it. You look at what the forwards do up front when they’re blocking those one-tiers for us. It’s the key to our success.”
The Rangers have been playing well, they have turned things around since the two-month hiccup during the holidays and they are getting points. They look to continue the strong play as they visit New Jersey on Tuesday.
The Rangers have earned at least one point in 13 of their last 15 home games (11-2-2).
Jesper Fast’s penalty shot attempt was the Rangers’ sixth penalty shot attempt of the 2015-2016 season. The Blueshirts’ six penalty shot attempts are the most they have recorded in one season in franchise history.
The Rangers have posted a 23-4-2 when registering the first goal of the game in 2015-2016.
The Blushirts have allowed two goals or fewer in seven of their last nine games.